Fuel handling solution chosen for UK’s first commercial bio-substitute natural gas plant

A pioneering green gas generation plant, under construction at Marston Gate in Swindon by Advanced Plasma Power and Cadent, is to use a fully automated fuel reception and delivery solution developed by biomass and material handling specialist Saxlund International.

The £25 million facility which is due to commence operations in early 2018 will be the first commercial plant to convert household waste into bio-substitute natural gas (BioSNG) and has received £11m of funding from the Department for Transport’s Advanced Biofuels Demonstration Competition.

Once operational, the plant will process 10,000 tonnes of household waste per annum producing 22 GWh of BioSNG, enough to heat 1,500 homes or fuel 75 heavy goods vehicles each year. Waste will be delivered once per day in a moving floor trailer and up to 150m3 will be stored to provide a buffer for weekend operation.

A robust, high-availability fuel handling solution to ensure uninterrupted plant operation with minimal manual intervention was a key requirement. Saxlund was chosen to provide a complete automated solution incorporating fuel reception, storage and discharge of RDF to feed the downstream fluid bed gasifier which in turn is closely coupled to a plasma converter.

The selected solution incorporates Saxlund Truck Docking Stations (SAX-TDS) designed to allow walking floor trailers arriving at the plant to be quickly unloaded, together with a Push Floor storage bunker with 100m3 capacity and chain conveyors to transport fuel on to the gasifier.

The Saxlund Truck Docking Station is designed to allow spillage free delivery of RDF to the plant and incorporates screw conveyors to provide a metered flow of material as it is transferred from the trailer into the Push Floor storage bunker. An active dust filtration system and inflating seals between the Docking Station and delivery trailers minimises dust emissions.

Importantly a walking floor trailer can be left docked to the docking station over weekends and discharged on demand via a Saxlund hydraulic power pack. This increases the storage capacity for the plant to ensure continuing operation over long weekends and public holidays, in a very small foot print.

Matt Drew, Managing Director for Saxlund International said: “Producing 80 per cent lower carbon emissions than fossil gas, BioSNG is recognised as being key to decarbonising heat and transport in the UK and internationally. We are delighted to be involved with this pioneering project at Marston Gate. Like all of the bioenergy and gasification plants we are currently involved with, fuel handling and storage are critical areas to get right to ensure plant efficiency and peak productivity.”

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